Diversity and endemism of the flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea: state of knowledge and future perspectives

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Understanding biodiversity of plants depends on detailed knowledge of foristics and environmental parameters. According to the Flora of Ethiopia and Eritrea (FEE; 1989–2009), the latest academic fora of these two topographically complex countries, the number of taxa (including non-indigenous ones) is 6027 of which 647 are endemic. Since 2009, 56 indigenous taxa have been described from the FEE area. Based on FEE data and later information, the number of indigenous species is here counted at 5219. In the RAINBIO database Sosef et al. (BMC Biol 15:1–23, 2017) counted the number of indigenous species in Ethiopia at 4481 (Eritrea not counted). Studies of local diversity and endemism produce diferent results with varying methods and sources: FEE data show highest diversity in the southern part of Ethiopia near the borders with Kenya, while RAINBIO data show highest diversity in the south-west and around the town of Harar. Wang et al. (J Syst Evol 58(1):33–42, 2020) found the highest ‘weighted endemism’ in the central Ethiopian mountains, while our FEE data indicates highest single-region endemism near the borders with Kenya and Somalia; Hawthorne and Marshall (Gard Bull Singap 71(Suppl. 2):315–333, 2019), weighting species according to rarity, found the highest ‘bioquality score’ in the same areas as our highest
single-region endemism. Studies of altitudinal diversity show a ‘mid-elevation diversity bulge’ at 1400–2100 m a.s.l. More data are needed before we understand the complex diversity of the two countries, including altitudinal diversity. We review needs for additional data gathering and modelling that may help answering outstanding questions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRendiconti Lincei. Scienze Fisiche e Naturali
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)675-697
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Botany, Diversity, Endemism, Ethiopia, Eritrea, phytogeograpy, altitudinal zonation, centres of diversity, centres of endemism, indigenous taxa, vegetation

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